Inside a loaf of banh my Hoi An


Having risen to prominence over the last decade, Vietnam cuisine now tops many a food lover’s wish-list. Proudly standing among big fishes like Turkey’s Doner Kebab and Japan’s Katsu-Sando, banh my Vietnam in general and banh my Hoi An in particular surely will not let even the pickest ones down.

In fact, many food bloggers and culinary experts have given it the lavish compliments. So what brings about the quality and reputation of this unique sandwich?

Hoi An Ancient Town is a UNESCO World Heritage-designated city lying on the central coast of Vietnam. In a region known for fertile soil and vibrant herbs, it is no surprise the sandwiches there are stuffed with verdant vegetables. Originating from the old Chinese and Japanese trading port during French colonialism, the sandwich style has creatively combined Western and Vietnamese features: a soft kind of baguette is served with local food and pickles.

The quintessence of Vietnam street food

Despite being considered as a snack, it requires an elaborate process with different steps. The most important part of the sandwich is the bread. Literally translated, bánh mì means “bread” or “wheat cake”; therefore, the main ingredient is the fresh wheat flour. Bread to make banh my has to be kept warm all the time to ensure the brittleness. However, maintaining the crunchy outer crust and the toughly tender crumb inside in the perfect balance is truly a culinary art. The result is never disappointing: the golden loaf is almost deflating at the first bite, followed by the ultra-softness still lingering on the tip of your tongue.

Vietnamese baguette

Vietnamese baguette

Being described as “ a symphony in a sandwich” on Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations television series, banh my Hoi An is not complete without any of these: pate, mayonnaise, coriander, pork cold cuts, roasted pork, pickled veggies, chili and some secret sauces. Instead of using cold meats like other places, the local cook the spiced char siu meat softly. Moreover, pate is also the ingredient that contributes to the unique flavor.

The cooking process of pate is complicated. When being out the oven, pate should maintain the fat level in the tender and humid state with a delicious aroma. Besides, there is also the hand-blended butter from chicken eggs and salad oil, which later turns into a greasily viscid mixture. Unlike the sauce in other regions, the sauce here is made partly from meat juice and appropriately seasoned, so it is basically a wonderful taste.

Various option to serve between two slices of bread

Various option to serve between two slices of bread

During their travel to Central Vietnam, many foreigners are astonished at the number of vegetables used in Hoi An cuisine. They cannot imagine how miraculously none of the crispy cucumber, fresh cilantro, pungent basil, pickled carrot, daikon and even juicy tomato slices spill out of the baguettes. The taste arrangement of each portion seems to be well calculated by the cook in a sensible way. Do not worry about having enough of meat products, because the fresh sourness from veggies is there to make up for you.

Vietnam cuisine always proudly declares itself as one of the most delicate in the world. The estheticism lies in not only the taste but also the attractive appearance. How many colors can you spot inside a loaf of banh my Hoi An? Is the bright palette made from ingredients stimulating enough for you tourists to give this Hoian food an immediate try?

Banh mi Hoian

Hello, this Is one of the best sandwiches you can find on earth

The guarantors of a national brand

The reputation has spread like wildfire, and thanks to the boom of social media on the Internet, banh mi Hoi An has met the worldwide glory. These below are the trustworthy guarantors of the must-eat dish in Hoi An that you cannot miss out.

1. Banh Mi Phuong:

Banh Mi Phuong is no stranger to any food gourmets, even to those who have never had a chance to taste it, thanks to the love from both home and abroad. Even Cameron Stauch, a Canadian cook who once had cooking time for the president of Canada, had to give profuse praise to this famed restaurant.

The plain exterior of the restaurant

The plain exterior of the restaurant

Address: 2B Phan Chu Trinh Street, Hoi An

Price: VND15,000 – VND30,000

2. Banh Mi Madame Khanh:

Being known as The Banh My Queen, madame Khanh is another prestigious guarantor. Although she hardly wins out the Internet’s power of other commercialized brands, her rustic food stall is still popular among the local. Her warm image of preparing the food for customers can remind us of our beloved grandma at home.

Madame Khanh

Madame Khanh is making a portion herself

Address: 115 Tran Cao Van Street, Hoi An

Price: VND15,000 – VND 30,000

Lana Nguyen

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